Todd Berger

Last updated
Todd Berger
Born (1979-04-05) April 5, 1979 (age 44)
Alma mater The University of Texas at Austin
Occupation(s)Film director, producer, screenwriter, actor
Helena Wei
(m. 2009)

Todd Berger (born April 5, 1979) is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, and novelist most prominently known for writing and directing the feature films It's a Disaster , Cover Versions, The Scenesters , and the documentary Don't Eat The Baby: Adventures at post-Katrina Mardi Gras.


Early life and education

Berger was born and raised in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. As a child and teenager he would make movies with friends using a VHS camera, and in 2015 used some of that footage with newly shot material to make the sci-fi time travel short film Teenage Wasteland, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 No Budget Film Festival. [1]

He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, where he worked for the student television station KVR-TV and wrote and directed the nationally syndicated comedy show Campus Loop. [2] In a class at the University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio–Television–Film he wrote and the produced the puppet short film Manifest Destiny, directed by classmate Dee Austin Robertson, which later inspired them to create the idea for the film The Happytime Murders. [3]

Film and TV career

Berger's first feature film as writer/director was the documentary Don't Eat The Baby: Adventures at post-Katrina Mardi Gras, which played the closing night of the 2007 New Orleans Film Festival. The film examined the city of New Orleans staging its first Mardi Gras after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and included interviews with Mardi Gras historians, activists, and residents effected by the flood. The film's title refers to the plastic baby hidden inside a King Cake.

His next film was The Scenesters , which he made with the comedic film group The Vacationeers (Kevin M. Brennan, Jeff Grace, and Blaise Miller). The found-footage black comedy, which told the tale of crime scene workers attempting to catch a serial killer, premiered at the 2009 Austin Film Festival, played the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival (where it won the "Most Interesting Film Award") and later received distribution through Monterey Media.

Following that was It's a Disaster , starring Julia Stiles, David Cross, and America Ferrera. The black comedy was the story of four couples who meet for brunch only to find themselves trapped inside during a VX (nerve agent) attack. It premiered at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival where it was acquired for distribution by Oscilloscope Pictures. The Hollywood Reporter called it "one of the funniest films of recent vintage." [4]

His most recent film Cover Versions was produced by Lakeshore Entertainment and starred Katie Cassidy, Drake Bell, Debby Ryan, and Jerry Trainor. A murder mystery involving four band members telling varying accounts of a night of sex, drugs, and murder before their first big show at a popular music festival, it premiered at the 2018 Palm Springs Film Festival and was acquired for distribution by Sony Pictures. Parts of the film were shot on location during the Kaaboo Del Mar music festival in San Diego, California.

In addition to the films he's directed, Berger wrote the Netflix Halloween comedy The Curse of Bridge Hollow, original drafts of The Happytime Murders , an R-rated comedy puppet film directed by Brian Henson and starring Melissa McCarthy, and is writing a screenplay for a film adaptation of Where's Waldo? [5] He also wrote the ABC Family original film Chasing Christmas and is credited as the writer of several animation projects, including Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five .

Berger directed the first season of the television show Liberty Crossing which premiered on the go90 network in January 2018. [6]

Berger has appeared as an actor in films, such as Southland Tales , and on the television shows Parks and Recreation and Maron .

Berger has been involved with the Slamdance Film Festival as a feature film programmer.

In December 2022 it was announced that Berger was developing the television show "12 Rocks In A Box," which he created, with Bill Lawrence's Doozer Productions and Warner Bros. Television Studios for HBO Max. [7]


Berger wrote the novel Showdown City, a satirical modern-day Western published in 2016 by Diversion Books. Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review and called it a "terrific debut novel." [8]

Music videos

Berger has directed several music videos, for, among others, Wallpaper., Wayland, Maxie Dean, and Escalator Hill.


Film and television roles
TitleYear Director Screenwriter Actor Acting RoleNotes
Chasing Christmas 2005YesTV movie
Southland Tales 2006YesBing Zinneman
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five 2008YesShort film; 'Nominated', 2009 Annie Award, Best Writing in an Animated Television Production or Short Form
The Scenesters 2009YesYesYesWallace Cotten
Parks and Recreation 2011YesKipTV series, 1 episode ("Road Trip")
The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol 2011YesShort film
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters 2011YesYes
Pig Server (voice)

Rabbit (voice)

Short film
Holiday Road2012YesYesYesTom(Directed and wrote "January" and "October" segments)
Cinema Six2012YesRon Garber
It's a Disaster 2012YesYesYesHal Lousteau
Good Night2013YesCharlie
Cover Versions2018YesYesYesPizza Guy
The Happytime Murders 2018Yes
The Curse of Bridge Hollow 2022Yes

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationNominated workCategoryResultRef(s)
2019 Golden Raspberry Awards The Happytime Murders Worst Screenplay Nominated [9]

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  1. "Time-Traveling Short Film TEENAGE WASTELAND is a Found Footage Delight".
  2. "Todd Berger : Film Method".
  3. "How Peter Jackson's Low-Budget Cult Comedy 'Meet the Feebles' Inspired 'The Happytime Murders'".
  4. "LAFF Review: It's A Disaster". The Hollywood Reporter. 25 June 2012.
  5. "Exclusive: How R-Rated is Brian Henson's The Happytime Murders?". 22 June 2012.
  6. "'Liberty Crossing' Unveils Trailer & Gets Premiere Date On Go90". 4 January 2018.
  7. "HBO Max to Develop Murder Trial Dramedy From Todd Berger With Bill Lawrence, Jennifer Levin, Sherri Cooper Landsman Producing (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety . 2022-12-09. Archived from the original on 2023-02-03.
  8. "Fiction Book Review: Showdown City". June 2016.
  9. "39th Razzie Nominations!". YouTube: Razzie Channel.